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Max Fried, Braves bring hot streaks into matchup with Pirates

Sportsnaut
Jun 3, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) delivers a pitch in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: John Leyba-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John Leyba-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves, winners of seven straight, will send ace Max Fried to the mound when they open a four-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.

The Braves extended their winning streak with a 13-2 win over the Oakland A’s on Wednesday, giving them a sweep of the two-game series. Pittsburgh lost 3-1 to Detroit as the Tigers completed a two-game sweep, but the Pirates have won six of their past 10.

Atlanta’s winning streak is the team’s longest since a nine-game streak from Aug. 13-22, 2021. The Braves have outscored the opposition 52-20 and hit 14 home runs during the current surge.

“It’s been a fun seven games,” said Braves pitcher Ian Anderson, who got the win on Wednesday. “When things are going bad, nothing goes your way, and when things are going good, you find a way to get out of jams. We’re kind of doing things the right way right now, and that’s leading to wins, and everything is starting to click.”

Fried (5-2, 2.74 ERA) will be opposed by Pirates right-hander JT Brubaker (0-5, 4.70) when the clubs meet for the first time this season.

Fried, a left-hander, has won his past five decisions and has allowed three runs or less in nine of his last 10 starts. He pitched eight scoreless innings in his latest outing, against the Colorado Rockies on Friday in Denver, but did not receive a decision.

The 28-year-old left-hander has made three career starts against Pittsburgh, going 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA. His lone win against the Pirates came on May 23, 2021, when he allowed one run over seven innings.

Brubaker will make his 12th start of the season. He took a loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, when he gave up six runs (five earned) in four-plus innings.

He was impressive in May while posting a 2.63 ERA, and he recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts against the Chicago Cubs on May 17. However, Brubaker is 0-3 in six road starts this year, and he hasn’t earned a win anywhere since Aug. 24, 2021.

Brubaker has made one career start against the Braves — losing to Fried on May 23, 2021. He yielded seven runs, including three homers, in 5 1/3 innings at Atlanta.

The young Pirates haver seven rookies on the roster, including Jack Suwinski, who has a seven-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .423 (11-for-26). His homer on Wednesday accounted for Pittsburgh’s only run.

He has seven home runs, the most by a National League rookie. Suwinski is starting in left field, and fellow rookie Cal Mitchell is starting in right field, with All-Star Bryan Reynolds holding down center field.

“You start to daydream a little bit,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “I’m really excited about this group of players.”

The Atlanta offense is receiving a boost from rookie Michael Harris II, who doubled and tripled on Wednesday and is hitting .268 since being recalled from Double-A Mississippi on May 28.

Braves catcher William Contreras hit his eighth home run on Wednesday and is batting .304.

Atlanta left fielder Adam Duvall also is enjoying a rare hot streak. The veteran is 6-for-13 with two doubles, a triple and two home runs in his past three games, lifting his average to .205.

–Field Level Media